WHAT TO DO WHEN THE POLICE LIGHTS ARE IN YOUR MIRROR
Getting pulled over by the police in Upstate NY or anywhere while driving can be a very shocking, startling, and extremely stressful experience. For most drivers, this has happened at least on one occasion and it is something that should not be taken lightly during the moment it is occurring.
Typically, a driver is pulled over by an officer of the law when they are breaking some sort of traffic law, such as speeding, running a red light or stop sign, etc. Other reasons may include suspicion of driving while intoxicated or other criminal offenses. When one views the flashing red light in their rear view mirror, it is important not to go into complete panic mode and disobey said blinking cherry.
When one is summoned to pull over, they should do so immediately. This is common sense of course, but one would be amazed on how many drivers do not do so immediately and suffer the wrath of the patrolling officer once they do indeed stop.
It is vitally important to remain in your vehicle once an officer pulls you over. In this day and age, an officer never knows who can be a danger to their person so they will be quick to defend themselves if they feel threatened by one’s actions. Simply stay in your car and follow the officer’s lead. They will often open the conversation with either “License and registration” or “Do you know why I pulled you over?” Your response to either of those questions should be in a respectful tone and in compliance to what they are asking. Do not refuse to offer your license and registration, even if you feel as though you have done nothing wrong. Do not aggressively argue with the officer, as this will only aggravate the situation, ultimately costing you further hardship down the road.
You may ask the officer questions, such as what you were doing wrong and so on, but do so in a respectful manner. One does not have to be meek. Simply get your questions across and then continue to follow the officer’s direction. Sometimes the less you say the better, as certain things can be used against you when the officer is writing up their ticket, or tickets as the case may be. Remember, the police have heard every excuse in the book and are in no mood to listen to something they likely heard 20 times already that day.
By refusing to give your license and registration to the patrolling officer, one opens themselves up to not only traffic violations, but also criminal charges as well. An officer can charge the non-complaint driver with obstruction of governmental administration, which is a class A misdemeanor. If you catch the officer in a real bad mood, they could even compound the charges and issue a citation for disorderly conduct, failure to comply with an order, and even throw in a parking on pavement violation to add insult to injury.
So if one is ever pulled over by an officer of the law, please be sure to let cooler heads prevail and do what is asked at the time of incident. If you feel that you were targeted or charged unjustly, the time to fight the charges is after the initial stop is over. Do not try to “fight city hall” while on the side of the road. Take your time, seek counsel if necessary, and proceed accordingly. A short fuse and bad attitude can be extremely costly in the long run. Greet the officer with a smile and live to fight another day.